Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, shared an insight into his personal life recently when he posted a video of a speech he made at his daughter Natalie’s wedding three years ago. One might say that he is a good role model for Singaporeans to emulate – after all, he is happily married to his wife Joy for 30 years, have 4 children, and 2 grandchildren till date.
So what’s the secret to his happiness and his successful marriage? Well, according to him, it can be found in these four areas:
1. Always Do Long-Term Planning
Dr Balakrishnan had started off his speech by stating that ‘choosing a spouse’ is one of life’s most important, if not the most important decisions. As he had mentioned, it can be a ‘great source of happiness, or the converse’. Coupled with the fact that you will be spending the rest of your life with your spouse, it is a monumental decision, to say the least. So choose wisely.
Also, when giving advice to his sons on choosing their potential life partner, he said that an important factor is to look at the girl’s mother.
Why look at the mother?
Because if you’re going to pick that gal as your life partner, her mother will become your mother-in-law for your entire duration of the marriage. Need we say more?
2. It Always Pays To Start Early
When we say start early, we mean getting married and giving birth. As Dr Balakrishnan mentioned, he is already in his 50s when he gave his speech at his daughter’s wedding. His youngest son, Luke, is barely 8 years. As he mentioned, “I will be in my 70s when Luke gets married.”
3. Always Have Children
According to Dr Balakrishnan, having children “more significant than getting married”. This is because it was only when he cradled his first born he “truly understood what responsibility meant”. Another human being’s survival, he said, fully depended on them. It was a turning point in his and his wife, Joy’s, lives: they were truly invested in the future already. “It wasn’t just about our lives anymore, but about her life and her future.”
4. To Always Love The Children’s Mother
Choking up with emotion when he said that he wished his mother could have been there to witness the joyous occasion, Dr Balakrishnan said that the most important gift a father could give to his children is to “love their mother”. He ended off his speech by reiterating the fact that old-fashioned values of “commitment for the long term, loving your partner and making it a life’s enterprise” are especially essential in today’s society, which is an era of “instant gratification and almost throw-away culture”.
By Nicholas Woo; image: screengrab from Facebook/Vivian Balakrishnan